Okah bail application continues

2010-10-20 12:22
Johannesburg – The bail application of suspected Nigerian bombing mastermind Henry Okah was expected to continue in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Okah, who testified in his own bail application on Monday, vehemently denied any involvement in twin car bombings that killed 12 people in Abuja, Nigeria on October 1.

The State alleged Okah was one of the people involved in sending an email warning of the attack.

"Do you know anyone by the name of Jomo Gbomo or JG?" prosecutor Shaun Abrahams asked the 45-year-old Okah on Monday.

"No," he replied.

Abrahams quoted from a letter allegedly written by Okah's wife, Azuka Okah entitled "A close look at Jomo Gbomo", and said Gbomo was Okah's pseudonym.

Nigerian authorities traced the emails to Gbomo. He said the content of the letter revealed Gbomo's activities since 2007, and that Azuka Okah's description of the man was actually a description of Okah. Okah denied this and told the court his wife was a writer who downloaded a lot of documents from the internet. The letter, he said, was not originally written by his wife, but had been downloaded.

The State alleged Okah had given instructions for the bombs to be detonated in Abuja.

Charges

He faces charges of engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activity, and delivering, placing and detonating an explosive device.

Okah spent most of Monday, the third day of his bail application, explaining why he had included a list of high-calibre weapons in his diary. The list included anti-tank mines, machine guns and air missiles.

The State alleges Okah had intended to buy the weapons as listed.

However Okah dismissed this, saying the list was written during his reading of warfare books – for intellectual purposes.

Abrahams grilled Okah about papers found at his house on October 2.

"This is the first time I see this document," Okah said, referring to a document which referred to him as "distinguished businessman, chosen leader of Mend (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta)".

He denied this, saying he was an "accepted" leader of the people in the region.

Respected leader

"I am a respected leader of the people of Niger. Just like Julius Malema, he is accepted here in South Africa as the leader of the youth, he is not the leader of any movement," Okah previously said of the ANC Youth League leader.

He maintained he was a sympathiser "to the cause," but not of Mend.

Abrahams asked why his wife would refer to him as the leader of Mend in a letter addressed to the media.

"I think she did it for clarity, because a lot of the media refer to me as a leader of Mend."

Okah also told the court of how he arranged for journalists to go into guerrilla camps, but denied being a leader of the group.

Confirming he was a war expert, Okah said he received about 200 calls per day from people concerned about what was happening in the Niger Delta.

He was questioned about his statement from a diary which reads: "We need heavier equipment and money."

This was a general feeling amongst people who knew what was going on in that region, he answered. Okah told the court he held South African citizenship and made a living through his security company.
- SAPA
Read more on:    henry okah  |  niger  |  nigeria  |  johannesburg  |  west africa
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